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“Why Stay Inside?” How Bobby Pauley turned stargazing into a rewarding outdoor hobby

Why stay inside? Orion customer Bobby Pauley has turned his affinity for stargazing into a rewarding outdoor activity he and his son Bryson can enjoy together. Like so many of us who explore the night sky with telescopes, Bobby appreciates the sense of perspective that stargazing provides, and the fact that astronomy is a hobby enjoyed outside in the fresh air, away from TV and video games.

Featured Customer Bobby Pauley
Bobby and Bryson Pauley get their Orion gear ready to enjoy another stargazing adventure together.

We recently caught up with Bobby and asked him to share a few of his experiences with the Orion Community:

How did you first become interested in astronomy?
The first time I started becoming interested in astronomy was around the same time I watched Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series back in college. A friend recommended the show and told me it changed how he viewed the world. It was around the same time I grew an interest in philosophy and started to explore the world around me and my existence. After watching the series, I began using the internet to gain knowledge of the universe. At this point, I was completely obsessed with it and spent many nights using my cheap binoculars to do some casual stargazing.

What is it about astronomy that makes you the most excited?
I think the most exciting thing about astronomy is the fact that it puts everything into perspective. The more I look up to the sky, the more I realize I shouldn't stress over the small details here on Earth. It has helped me through my lifelong journey of finding happiness, and for that I am forever grateful.

What is your favorite celestial object, or type of object to view?
My favorite object to view is ironically the closest: the Moon. Don't get me wrong, I love diving deeper into space. But the reason why the Moon is my personal favorite is because my son enjoys it the most. Since he is a mere four years, he has a difficult time grasping the concept of viewing farther objects or even galaxies. It's difficult for him to wrap his mind around. Fortunately, I think we're approaching the years when he can have a better understanding of viewing objects that he can't see with the naked eye.

Are there any celestial objects that are on your challenge list?
I am honestly still a beginner for the most part - so don't expect any advanced level targets just yet. But I would like to get a better look at the Dumbbell nebula. I've seen multiple times before, but since the settings weren't ideal, I still consider it to be on my immediate to-do list.

What Orion gear do you use?
I have the Orion XT8i (which I love). Some people wouldn't like the idea of storing a larger telescope in their house, but I embrace it. It sits in my hobby room, along with my record collection, camera equipment, synthesizers, drones, etc. I love that it's a great conversation piece. People are absolute suckers for large telescopes. To keep it safe, I also purchased the Orion carrying case. As for accessories, I own three eye pieces from the Expanse series: the 6mm, 9mm, and 15mm. I also own the 28mm and 42mm DeepView eyepieces - my personal favorites. The build of all these Orion eyepieces are high quality, especially for the price. I have the 9x50 Right-Angle Correct Image Finder attached to the XT8i. This also gives Bryson something extra to look through when I'm having all the fun. As for filters, I have the Orion Variable Polarizer, the four color planetary filter set, and the Orion SkyGlow. I also own the Orion Collimating eyepiece, which is extremely useful to say the least - as it saves me a lot of time in the end.

Has astronomy as a hobby changed your life or your family's life in any way?
I love any hobbies that can bring my son and I closer together. I only have him three days of the week, so I make it a point to do as much fun stuff as possible when he's here. Since he's at such an impressionable age right now - I want to give him a solid foundation of lifelong hobbies. It makes me sad to see kids out there who aren't being exposed to this sort of thing. Why the heck would we stay inside and play video games/watch TV all the time when we can look through an eyepiece and view the universe?! It's a no-brainer for me. In the middle of a viewing session, I can see it in my son's eyes. He's becoming someone who values nature and the universe, as it should be. And that makes me incredibly happy inside.

On any given night, how do you decide what to observe? Do you plan ahead or just view whatever you can find?
More times than less, the child inside me ends up taking it out and exploring with no rhyme or reason. Not to mention Bryson prefers it that way, too. As I get further into the hobby and my son gets older, I will definitely start planning ahead more often and executing with precision. That's one of the most fun aspects with this sort of hobby - the desire for continual improvement.

What advice would you give to beginners who are interested in astronomy?
Talk to someone at Orion via their website or phone! Just tell them what you want from this hobby and they will help you out! I did several times before my purchase, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. Even if I could start over, I would probably buy all the same things! But most importantly, once the telescope has been purchased, go out and explore! It's okay if you are in over your head, most of us were at the beginning. Just go out as much as possible anyways. Spend the first ten times not having a clue what you're doing - don't get discouraged. Let the child inside you come out! Eventually, you will get better. But the main thing is to have fun!

We're excited to announce Bobby was selected as the winner of our recent Orion Review Contest! We're certain he and Bryson will put their $500 Orion Gift Certificate prize to good use.

We love seeing stars, especially in our customer reviews! We periodically have contests when we randomly select a customer who has written a review for their recent Orion purchase and send them an Orion Gift Certificate award.